In Ephesians 5 we see husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church and this is a ridiculously high calling. Jesus loves the church (all those who place their faith in His death, burial, and resurrection throughout history) by chasing after us, initiating with us, listening to us, serving us, sacrificing for us and it wasn’t because we were pretty, smart, funny, or enjoyed His hobbies. It was just the opposite. All the while we wanted nothing to do with Him, ignored Him, hated Him, and yet Jesus chases after us, pulls us toward Him, dies for our sin and shame, and through faith we are clothed in His righteousness.
Scripture is teaching us as Christ loved the church so the husband is to love his wife.
Below are a few gauges to help us respond to this challenge:
Physically: I want my wife to know that she is protected and cared for in our marriage. I want to initiate physical touch, hugs, affection, holding hands to let her know that I am looking after her best interests.
Verbally: I want to keep in check how we communicate with each other. Is there sarcasm or anger? Do I condescend? Am I taking time to encourage and edify? What is the verbal temperature of our marriage?
Spiritually: Am I taking time to connect with her spiritually. Ask her what she is reading in the Bible, what the Holy Spirit is teaching her, where she is convicted? Am I taking time to get our family together at least once a week to read Scripture together and pray together?
Emotionally: I want to make sure that when my wife feels fear, anxiety, insecurity that she can come to me…and it isn’t because I am perfect, but because I can point her to one that is in Jesus Christ.
There are times when I miss this and miss it big, but there is a lot of grace in the call of a husband. When it happens I go to Jesus and my wife and confess and ask her forgiveness. Jesus has fully empowered and equipped us to fulfill the call He has given us to love our wives as Christ loved and loves the church and when we miss it we can confess it as quickly as possible and continue to move forward as a husband who loves his wife as Christ loved the church.